Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit against the IRS on Monday, alleging that two employees who allegedly interfered with his case released personal tax records without authorization. This development occurs at a time when legal and political clashes are expected to increase for the 2024 elections.
The lawsuit says the two employees “targeted and tried to put Mr. Biden in a difficult position.” Mr. Biden says that the legal provisions for whistleblower protection, which the employees in question seek to benefit from, do not include sharing confidential information in interviews with the press or during congressional testimony.
The lawsuit comes as a protracted investigation into Hunter Biden continues to take shape against a deeply divisive political backdrop, including a congressional impeachment inquiry aimed at impeaching his father, President Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden was charged days ago with lying about drug use while buying a gun in October 2018. His lawyers have signaled they will contest the charges. This case is likely to turn into high-profile litigation as the 2024 elections approach.
The new civil lawsuit filed in Washington alleges that the unauthorized releases included tax returns for the specific years under investigation, including tax deductions and references to back taxes. The lawsuit does not challenge the investigative process itself, but seeks “enforcement of federal tax and privacy law” and to stop the spread of “baseless allegations” and the “unlawful release” of his tax records.
The agent in charge at the IRS, Greg Shapley, and agent Joe Ziegler, said during congressional testimony that there was a pattern of “slow investigative steps” in the Hunter Biden case. Both employees have denied having political motives. They have suggested that the prosecutor leading the investigation, Delaware District Attorney David Weiss, did not have full authority to file charges in other jurisdictions.
Prosecutor Weiss, originally appointed by former President Donald Trump and retained to oversee the Hunter Biden investigation, has denied that he lacked the authority to bring charges. Even Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that prosecutor Weiss “has full authority.”
However, prosecutor Weiss requested special prosecutor status, which was granted last month. He now has extended authority to investigate and report on his findings.
Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty to felony tax evasion charges in a preliminary deal with prosecutors, which also included a gun charge. The deal was thrown out in court, however, after the judge raised questions. Republicans had criticized the deal as favored.
The IRS and attorneys for the employees did not immediately respond to requests for comment./VOA
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